“Patients Losing Patience” Healthcare Forum Rescheduled to Sept. 10

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AAMC and CareFirst Are Using Our Healthcare as Bargaining Chips.

Everyone is Invited to Attend Sunday, September 10th, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, to Learn about Local and National Healthcare Issues

The Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition has rescheduled and restructured its healthcare forum Patients Losing Patience in light of the recent settlement between Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) and CareFirst.  Originally scheduled for August 14, the forum will now take place Sunday, September 10, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, 1101 Smithville Drive, Annapolis. All citizens are invited to attend not only to learn about local and national healthcare issues, but also how to demand change to ensure affordable healthcare for all.

On July 14, Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), the county’s largest healthcare provider, sent a letter notifying the health insurance provider CareFirst of its intent to terminate their contract on September 30, 2017.  Then, in a joint statement issued August 4, hospital and insurance officials stated they had reached an agreement which meant “no disruptions to care or coverage for CareFirst customers who receive healthcare at AAMC.”  Pressure from citizen advocates, including the Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition, may have been the tipping point that forced the settlement.

The settlement is a relief to thousands of Anne Arundel citizens who are insured by CareFirst, including some 30,000 county employees who have no other choice for health insurance, as well as other state and federal employees living in the county.

According to Monica Lindsey, who brought together a team of volunteers to organize the Patients Losing Patience forum, “while the settlement between AAMC and CareFirst is good news, it underscores an intrinsic flaw in American healthcare: citizens are at the mercy of healthcare providers and insurers.  Originally, Patients Losing Patience was organized to focus on the AAMC/CareFirst dispute.  Now that that dispute has been settled, we have decided to focus on broader issues to help citizens understand how healthcare systems work both locally and nationally. More importantly, we want to give citizens the tools and resources needed to become advocates for better, patient-centric healthcare systems.”

As part of Patients Losing Patience, speakers will explore healthcare systems throughout Anne Arundel County, the state of Maryland, and the United States. Speakers will present alternatives that could better serve citizens’ needs, including Medicare for All. The Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition has also engaged citizens to present their own personal experiences in navigating the local healthcare system. In addition, everyone in attendance will be encouraged to ask questions and voice their opinions.

Executives from both AAMC and CareFirst have been invited to attend, as well as county and state representatives. This will enable all stakeholders—including citizens—to engage in productive conversation.

For more information on Patients Losing Patience, visit Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AAIndHCC/.

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Eric Graber is a semi-retired marketing communications professional who has reluctantly been drawn into the resistance movement. He dedicates as much time as possible to painting, exploring various movements in modern art.